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Obsessive-compulsive disorder, commonly called OCD, is an anxiety disorder characterized by repetitive behaviors stemming from invasive thoughts that produce uneasiness, anxiety, fear or worry. The behaviors associated with OCD are uncontrollable; the individual viscerally experiences the sensation that serious consequences will occur if they do not complete certain actions. This feeling may emerge at any time without warning, driving an individual with OCD to feel a deep urge to abandon any other tasks at hand and perform a different set of actions. As a result, this disorder may be incredibly disruptive to normal daily activities and can prevent someone with OCD from participating fully in everyday life. Sufferers of the disorder are often under severe emotional and financial distress due to its alienating and time-consuming nature.
Several modern treatment modalities are available to help individuals with OCD. Specific methods like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are aimed at retraining the brain to recognize and control intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. In combination with a full regimen of psychotherapy, medication as needed or interventions for co-occurring disorders, treatment for OCD typically has positive outcomes. At Avalon’s Los Angeles-area treatment center, our expert team provides targeted behavioral healthcare for individuals who are struggling with OCD as well as specialized treatment for those who have a co-occurring substance use disorder with OCD.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders notes two main diagnostic features of OCD: obsessions, or intrusive thoughts; and compulsions, or uncontrolled repetitive behaviors. The compulsions are typically performed in response to the obsessions. And, while the affected individual does not feel pleasure from performing the compulsive behavior, they may feel relief from any anxiety or fear related to the obsessive thought.
The compulsions of OCD may appear strange or even quirky to some people, as the behaviors can include seemingly innocuous patterns like double- or triple-checking locks, turning light switches on and off, organizing drawer contents or eating foods on a plate in a specific order. But the underlying mechanisms of these actions are not to be taken lightly, despite how they may appear on the surface. The individual is likely experiencing severe distress. If ignored, OCD may come to include more dangerous compulsions like scratching, skin picking, hair pulling or self-harm.
In more acute cases, people who experience obsessive-compulsive disorder may appear paranoid and even psychotic. OCD sufferers often recognize that their obsessions and compulsions are unreasonable, and they may become more distressed by the realization of their own behavior. The difficulty in changing their behavior alone often compounds the problem, and the cycle of obsessive thoughts and actions continues. Even with the irrational behaviors, though, OCD can be associated with above-average intelligence. Individuals who endure OCD tend to share personality traits that may include:
When OCD is successfully controlled with treatment and mental health management techniques, affected individuals have a high chance of leading a successful and fulfilling personal and professional life.
If you believe that you or someone you care about is exhibiting signs of a mental health disorder like OCD, it is crucial to reach out to a professional mental health treatment center like Avalon Malibu. Our skilled and licensed psychotherapists are highly trained to work with all types of obsessive-compulsive disorder. We can help individuals with OCD find relief from their symptoms and discover safe and healthy methods of controlling their thoughts and behaviors, no matter how they manifest.
Most individuals with OCD begin to demonstrate signs when they are young, though reaching a complete diagnosis in childhood is difficult. In many cases, parents do not recognize the signs of a mental health disorder and enable their child’s behaviors in an attempt to reduce distress. The majority of OCD diagnoses occur during an individual’s teenage or early adult years.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, boys are more likely to exhibit OCD symptoms before puberty, but in adulthood, the prevalence of OCD is slightly higher among women. Overall, OCD affects about 2 million people in the United States. It occurs in men and women approximately equally, and it affects young people at a higher rate than those in middle or advanced age.
Much like other mental health disorders, OCD may be more likely in individuals with:
Some cases of OCD symptoms arise as a direct result of drug or alcohol abuse. This phenomenon is often called drug-induced psychosis, and it occurs when continued substance use creates chemical imbalances in the brain. Mental health symptoms like depression, anxiety or paranoia can emerge as brain pathways that regulate mood, emotion and fear responses are interrupted by the ebb and flow of mind-altering substances in the body. In some instances, the symptoms of drug-induced psychosis can appear as OCD or OCD-like behaviors. Drug or alcohol use may also worsen or bring out pre-existing obsessive-compulsive tendencies.
Drug or alcohol abuse and addiction, therefore, may serve to increase an individual’s risk of developing OCD. However, treating co-occurring OCD and substance abuse requires a different approach than treating these two concerns alone. As a comprehensive behavioral healthcare treatment center, Avalon Malibu is equipped to help individuals who are struggling with OCD accompanied by substance abuse. We offer specialized treatment tracks for those with co-occurring disorders of all types, and we thoroughly evaluate each patient upon admission to determine the type of care necessary for a full recovery.
Avalon Malibu’s Grand House is our dedicated mental health treatment center. This luxury residential facility includes full-time treatment from our exceptional, experienced staff as well as modern comforts and amenities to help our clients relax and heal. The Grand House regularly welcomes individuals who are struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and we provide a range of therapeutic modalities that are proven effective for OCD and any accompanying concerns.
Clients will experience our combined 12-step approaches with group and individual psychotherapy while at the Grand House. Individual sessions are offered at least three times per week. We also utilize experiential methodology, expressive arts and research-based psychotherapies like CBT to bring healing to our clients in a safe, contained and nurturing environment. We strive to assist clients in breaking through old patterns, shedding beliefs that no longer serve them and healing past traumas that may be the root cause of their obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Our dedicated team of professionals works together to provide exceptional care, respect, compassion, kindness and hospitality. We invite clients to permit our professional team to guide them in discovering a way to a more fulfilling life, free from OCD. Avalon Malibu patients go on to experience excellent outcomes through our treatments and the lifelong community resources we supply.
At Avalon Malibu, we believe that the issues we face do not define who we are. OCD is no exception. You do not need to live any longer with these disruptive, distressing and debilitating symptoms. We can help you or your loved one achieve a better state of mental health and maintain psychological balance and wellness for life. Contact us today at 888-660-1486 to learn more about our OCD treatment programs or to start the admissions process.